Disaster risk reduction: a cross-cutting necessity in the SDGs

The year 2015 presents an unparalleled opportunity to align landmark UN agreements through the convergence of three global policy frameworks: the post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (March 2015), The Sustainable Development Goals (September 2015; SDGs) and the Climate Change Agreements (December 2015: COP21). These major global policy instruments need to align urgently to facilitate and encourage better participation in disaster risk reduction (DRR), sustainable development and climate-change mitigation and adaptation from the science and technology communities.

Implicit in the SDGs, is the conviction that health is not just a matter of biology but also a product of societal architecture and is, therefore, amenable to human intervention – an approach with a large body of evidence behind it. Similarly, disasters are not natural events. They are endogenous to society and disaster risk arises when hazards interact with the environmental, social, physical and economic vulnerabilities and exposure of populations. Thus, the overall focus of disaster risk management has to shift from shielding social and economic development against what are seen as external events and shocks, to one of transforming development in order to accept and manage risks, as well as to strengthen resilience, thereby enabling development that is sustainable.

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